In October 2014, 4 months after i completed my dream car, Super Street contacted me and asked if i’d be interested in having my car featured in their magazine. I never imagined my car would be good enough to get into a car show, let alone a magazine, so i jumped at the opportunity. The photoshoot was set for Wednesday, October 29th, at Englishtown Raceway. The photographer organized a photoshoot on track for both rolling and still shots, but there would only be enough time to do the exterior photos. The interior and engine bay would have be done the following week, after my first track event in the newly completed build, but that day would never come, and in the end, the feature fell through.

Although i spent the better part of the last 6 years riding motorcycles at the track, the last time i had done an event in a car was 2007 at VIR. Needless to say, i was quite eager to see what my latest creation was capable of doing on track, especially in comparison to my Ducati 848 race bike. The event was scheduled for November 1, 2014 and despite the rain and abnormally cold weather for this time of year, i had waited too long to finally put the car on the track to back down, so i went out and drove every session i could, which amounted to over 4 hours of track time in one day since less than 10 people showed up for the event.

Photo courtesy of Dennis Portillo

I spent the morning sessions coming to grips with the car and getting a feel for how much traction there was with the constant rain throughout the day. Traction was practically non-existent. Even accelerating slowly through the turns resulted in a little bit of sideways action throughout the track, but i was starting to get the hang of it and my confidence in the car was growing. Having gotten caught up in the excitement of finally doing what i built the car to do, i failed to realize the temperature had started to drop quite significantly in the afternoon sessions.

Photo courtesy of Dennis Portillo

By the second to last session of the day, the temps hovered just below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the rain hadn’t stopped once throughout the whole event. But determined to get as much track time as I possibly could, i went out for my penultimate session, eager to see if i could improve on the times i set in the previous sessions, forgetting i still had to drive the car 2 hours home after the event. On my 3rd lap out, as i was coming through the final chicane onto the front straight, the rear suddenly gave way, just enough to point the car in the direction of the armco instead of the apex of the final turn. In the morning driver’s meeting, we were told to avoid the grass at all cost because in the rain, wet grass is no different than black ice, and in that moment where my car was now off the line, that’s exactly where i found myself headed. With minimal runoff between the track and the armco, there was no avoiding the fate that stared straight at me. The front driver-side corner ended up taking the first hit and the remainder of the driver’s side followed, dragging along the wall. Unfortunately, at the speed i was going at the time of the slide, the car wasn’t ready to slow to a stop just yet and with no control of the vehicle at that point, it jumped the track crossing to the other side and impacting the front passenger corner head-on, where the car finally came to rest. When the dust settled, I walked away with a dislocated thumb, which, to this day, has not fully recovered and continues to serve as a humbling reminder of that fateful day. But even worse than the physical pain, was a crushed spirit.

For days, if not months, following the incident, the crash played in my mind over and over again, bringing with it the feeling of dread that settled in after finally realizing what had happened. With the help of a couple of good friends, including my new friend at the time, Ted Solano (@regimentzero_fd3s), i managed to get the wrecked car back into my garage where it sat for 2 months, untouched, because i couldn’t even bring myself into the garage to look at it. For car people, losing your car is like losing a part of yourself, and that’s exactly how i felt. The only thing greater than the soul crushing feeling of wrecking my dream car built with my own blood, sweat, and tears was my determination to bring the car back to life, no matter what it took.

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